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Thread: Getting started in new home, first pool

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    Getting started in new home, first pool

    I'm new around here and have a pool in this new house. We are not actually moved in and so right now I am running from one house to the other daily to clean the skimmers and save the stupid Polaris from committing suicide by catching its tail in the rocks or establishing an infinite loop as it gets stuck on the beach area ledge and twists itself into a stupor.

    But, the real issue is the chlorine level, which is staying near 0.5. Probably due to the high CYA level, at least 100, though I'll admit it could be more, need to bring distilled water to the house to test by halves. The pool has been on chlorine tabs since it was built in 1999 or so. And, the sale of the house coincided with the hurricane so it is still probably suffering some from that at the same time as change of owners, lack of attention, several days down for repairs around closing on sale.

    So, the question I have first is... given a sunny exposure is there some ideal CYA level that I ought to shoot for since CYA helps protect chlorine from sunight? 50? 75? 80?

    Next, they call it The Woodlands for a reason.... all those tall pines across the fence sure do manage to drop pine seeds and needles into my pool. I clean the skimmers every day, twice if it rains, and I still have to clean the strainer basket at the filter pump every other day as so much stuff gets past the skimmers. I noticed a "skimmer liner" for sale at one site, but not in the local stores. Is that something that might help me through this fall season, or a bad idea for some reason? I can only imagine the damage it might do if it fell apart and plugged up the lines or the pump.

    Third, I am a big fan of online ordering, but my last obsession... er, hobby, of fish keeping showed me that it is certainly possible to buy way more than you need when you think you are saving money each time. So, this "Water Wand" that helps you clean the cartridge filter.... worth $20 or so, or one more gadget that will be in the way eventually? Simple is good for now.

    As for shopping, I am about to order the test kit, although the test strips I have do agree with Leslie's free water test. I don't think I've ever gotten the chlorine level up enough to have actually shocked the pool, given the CYA of 100 or something. 4 lbs is not enough according to the Pool calculator, and I was not around to see what the levels got to after a few hours of circulation.

    I could buy the skimmer liner and the water wand and even a spare cartridge just in case I tear one (of the 4) somehow, and a wall whale as I've hurt my back, and a decent telescoping pole as the aluminum one is making me crazy, and a spare O-ring for the filter.... is this wise or am I going overboard?

    Finally, we have a very nice rock waterfall and the pools of water are collecting green algae. The Aqualik program is set up to run the waterfall for awhile in the late afternoon. A clever friend at the office that is pool obsessed had a lot of advice to offer about when to run pumps and polaris and waterfalls, short version was waterfall first, then run pumps at night with the Polaris and only once a day. Running the waterfall when we are home for dinner seems nice, and we expect to use the spa after dinner as well. If I go to BBB method, I may end the day with a shot of bleach for the pool, perhaps as I run the waterfall once more to cycle the bleach, then run the pool pump and polaris to clean up. Does this sound right for this area?

    For now, I think I will do a good shocking after we are out of the spa, run the waterfall to circulate that for 10 or 20 minutes, and after the pool circulates for another 10 minutes do a test to see how far I got with the chlorine levels. Will 20 minutes be enought to attack the algae in the waterfall? Or do I need to hit it with some straight liquid bleach, maybe a cup per rock-pool spot?

    Thanks for the help, sorry for the scatter-shot questions, but I couldn't quite separate them all into different posts.

    Anona
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Getting started in new home, first pool

    Anona, welcome to TFP!!

    It sounds like you have a decent grasp on what we usually recommend Your shopping list of skimmer socks, pole, wall whale, etc sounds good. Congrats on ordering the test kit!! it will really help you take control of the pool!

    Re. cya level in high sun - as all pools and sun exposure are unique, there's no solid number to shoot for If you had a freshly filled pool, I would recommend shooting for 40 ppm and raising it if you found that lever to be too low. However, as you are starting high on cya and will need to drain and refill to lower it, I think 60 - 80 would be a good range for you to lower it to and then see if you want to lower it more.

    What are you using to chlorinate the pool now?

    If you have algae in the waterfall basins, you should treat with bleach (don't be shy about adding it to the rock lined basins) and let sit for at least 1/2 hour before the waterfall comes on - what you've basically got is stagnant pools growing algae and that's just passing into the pool when the fall kicks on. Do you have a sump pump or similar so you can drain the basins and treat them so that, once refilled and maintained, they won't be passing algae into the pool? Once the basins and waterfall plumbing are free of algae a couple 20 minute on cycles for the fall per day should keep things under control, as long as you maintain sufficient fc in the pool water.

    I don't know if a SWCG is feasible for you, but they are a good way to automatically chlorinate the pool. After the high cya is corrected, you may also want to think about adding ~50 ppm borites to thew pool (please check out Pool School linked in my sig!)

    I wish you well with the move and on maintaining the pool Please ask any other questions you have!

    Ted
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in new home, first pool

    Hey,

    Welcome to the forum. Lots of friendly people and arguably the most knowledgeable collection of swimming pool expertise on the planet.

    CYA is generally suggested in the 40-60 range for manually chlorinated pools and 60-80 for SWG pools.

    You must run your FC much, much higher than you currently are. Just how high is difficult because we don't know your CYA level.

    Low FC as you have had in your pool, is not cured with a one-time dosage. You will need to bring your FC to shock level, hold it there until your pool clears, and then CONSTANTLY maintain your FC up around 5-10ppm depending on your CYA level.

    There are a couple of articles in pool school that will give your guidance on how to shock and how to clear an algae-laden pool. It will take far, far more chlorine than you are currently contemplating. Almost everyone new to pools takes a while to get a good grip on just how much chlorine is required and how quickly it is consumed in a pool that already has algae.

    I'll let others advise on the other questions. It would be a good idea to focus on your algae/FC/CYA issues for now and get your pool water in balance and then treat the other items.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Getting started in new home, first pool

    Good advice, but first things first... I have already ruined a favorite pair of pants by kneeling on the decking and picking up a bit of dry shock. How do you all deal with that? I've thought of getting a cheap pair of hospital scrubs and clogs to change into before I start to mess with the pool.

    I did run around a lot yesterday looking for cheap Bleach. Found liquid Shock (10%) at Pool Warehouse 4 G for $13 something, just a bit higher for SmartShock at Lowes. Can't tell if either contain CYA. Kroger, Fiesta, and Sams, and Walmart had 6% bleach at what seemed to be high prices, or cheaper bleach with no concentration given. Pool Warehouse also had the Wall Whale at same price as online so I will stop there today, and check out the skimmer liner as one person on this site swears by it apparently (though no one has commented in this thread yet) and maybe get a fluted pole although Lowes had them also.

    Before I buy more liquid, I need to see if the Dry Shock I got at Leslie's will add CYA -- it was too dark to read when I got up there yesterday so I cleaned the skimmers (stuffed!), tested, and that was all as I had to help husband with cabinets he bought for the garage. So, today I will check the label, then head to Pool Warehouse or Texsun for liquid if that is needed.

    There is a fountain pump tossed aside in the garden, I will see if it still works and if so I can drain the waterfall basins with that and add bleach or a bucket of dry shock added to water -- guess I can just add a tablespoon or so to a bucket of pool water and see how strong it smells? Can someone assure me that I won't damage the rocks? They look like moss-rocks, boulders, brown, maybe a sandstone? I cannot tell.

    The pool has an automatic chlorinator and uses 3" pucks. I had turned it up to max at 5 and have shocked a few times but I am certain that FC never got high enough. Yesterday the test strip indicated CYA between 100 and 150. Looks like I'll need to drain and fill.... no idea how to do that.... that scares me a bit! I sense a potential disaster looming.... Gee I hope this can wait until my husband is around to help out. I'd rather hope that the winter rains might help dillute the CYA if the pool gets high enough, as long as I can avoid adding any more.

    Lat night test results were: hardness 250, TC 2, FC 2, pH 7.8, Alkalinity 120-180, CYA between 100-150. I turned the automatic chlorinator way down, from 5 to 1, figuring I would go to liquid bleach or dry shock if it is CYA free. I see only tiny bits of green algae in cracks between rocks at the steps and a lot in the waterfall pools and flow paths.

    Today, I will attack those with bleach and a brush, guessing that at 25% bleach I will need gloves? I have ruined my hands using straight bleach before and do not want a repeat of cracked and bleeding fingers.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in new home, first pool

    The automatic chlorinator uses trichlor pucks, which contain CYA. The dry shock might be dichlor, cal-hypo, or lithium-hypo. Dichlor contains CYA, cal-hypo contains calcium, and lithium-hypo tends to be very expensive. None of the liquid chlorine/shock/bleach products contain CYA. You would be best off using one of the liquid products, though you could use cal-hypo for a little while (until your calcium level goes up too much).
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in new home, first pool

    I can't answer all of your questions, but I'll answer what I can.

    Wearing old/disposable clothes is a good idea, especially when messing around with bleach and muriatic acid. It doesn't take much to ruin a shirt or a pair of pants, as you unfortunately found out. Goggles are a good idea when handling muriatic acid as well. In case you're wondering, you'll use muriatic acid or dry acid to help maintain your pH level.

    I highly recommend skimmer socks. They sure do help keep small debris out of your filter, and any larger debris that might slip through the strainer basket as well (pine needles, for example). Folks here swear by the wall whale for brushing the walls of their pool. I wouldn't waste money on a Water Wand. Go buy one of the old fashioned brass hose nozzles. Those work great for cleaning cartridge filters.

    I can't answer the question about the bleach concentration for cleaning your rocks, or if it will harm your rocks. I'll leave that to the more knowledgeable folks who have done that before.

    If your CYA is at 100 - 150 or higher (and I would bet higher), I don't think winter rains will lower it much at all. You don't have to do a complete drain and refill all at once. You can do a series of partial drains and refills until your CYA is where you need it.

    If your hands are sensitive to bleach, then most certainly wear gloves while you brush. I'd go with the heavy rubber kitchen gloves, too. The thinner latex gloves have a nasty tendency to tear.

    I'll chant our mantra too - a good test kit is worth every penny paid for it. Once you learn how to do your own testing and get your water balanced, you'll be surprised how easy it is to maintain your pool. You'll also be surprised at how often the pool store's numbers aren't correct, too.

    One other housekeeping item - please take a moment to enter your pool information in your signature for your profile. That information will help the forum members with the advice they give you.

    Have a great day!
    Mike
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

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    Re: Getting started in new home, first pool

    Follow-up... Water test showed FC of 2, TC of 2, CYA of 100. So my target FC is really 12.

    I added 12 scoops of dry calcium hypochlorite 70% to the pool (Thanks to the Pool Calculator for having all the different solutions and concentrations, I'd written them all down) and brushed the pool to stir it up. Then I added maybe a half scoop to a bucket of water and poured the water off the top of that into the waterfall pools. I'd forgotten to bring any gloves (oh, well) and so just did the best I could with the brush I found in the garage -- some natural bristle brush, not really stiff. Really needed a smaller brush, not the big round one I had.

    Eventually I realized the pools had a deep layer of sand in them, the algae settled into the sand and the water looked clean but turned green when stirred up. So I took the Polaris Spa Wand and sucked up the sand, eventually figured out how to disassemble it to dump the sand. Let that all sit, washed off my hands (did not look too aggravated without gloves) and waited 20 minutes or more. Finally ran the waterfall and watched the faint cloud of green fall into the pool. Turned off the waterfall and turned on the whole pool. After another 30 minutes or so, I put it back on automatic operation.

    Water test showed between 10 and 20 FC, probably near the target of 12. Eventually the program turned on the waterfall again and it looked rather clean, the pool had a faint "pool smell" which it had not had before.

    Then I went to one of the local pool stores where I asked the first salesperson "why do I brush my pool?" His answer was not real in-depth, so I wandered off. Another sales person approached and we got to talking, liked her reply on CYA and her suggestions. She said I needed to do a partial draining *before* I tried to correct the chlorine levels (too late!) and explained that I'd need to drop a hose into the lowest part of the pool and let it run for maybe 10 hours out of the overflow to pass the excess CYA off the surface waters. She showed me some of the things on the shopping list, a buck or two more expensive than online, but I do like to keep the local stores in business if they can employ people who can help me in person when I need help. They stock the carts I need, maybe $20 more than the best online price, but they are in stock and close by, so I can get one there in an emergency any day of the week. Spent $60 on a spare Polaris bag and skimmer liners and silicone. Shoulda gotten her name, she was bright.

    So, I'm feeling like this is under control. Maybe tomorrow I can do a partial water change and then get the chlorine levels into a more reasonable range. Keep the automatic chlorinator on a very low number and use the calcium hypo a bit more to keep the numbers in range. Probably want to go back to that store and get the Wall Whale and the liquid shock also, to keep the calcium additions to a minimum. Then to Lowes for the extra pole.

    After this, I investigate whether the brown water stains along the curb in front of the house are from the water meter, the sprinkler system, or my pool in the back yard.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Getting started in new home, first pool

    It sounds like you had a fairly good pool store experience. Not everything they told you was completely true, but none of their "mistakes" are in any way serious. That is much better than the average pool store experience.

    You lower the CYA level by replacing water. It doesn't make any difference if you replace deep water or surface water or any old water, any form of water replacement will lower the CYA level.

    While it is true that it is almost always best to lower the CYA level and the raise the FC level, there are exceptions. It sounds like you have been doing fairly well at raising the FC level and have everything under control for the moment. As things turned out doing chlorine first appears to have worked just fine.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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